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Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared

Bill Drummond, an artist and enfant terrible in the British music scene, imagines a world without musical history. In his project “The 17” he arranges very simple, archaic noise-“scores” with volunteers that include factory workers, nuns and ...


When I watched the documentary IMAGINE WAKING UP TOMORROW AND ALL MUSIC HAS DISAPPEARED alone in my apartment I began making strange humming sounds after an hour. IMAGINE is a film about ex-pop star Bill Drummond’s project, called “The 17“ in which he gets an assortment of people like factory workers, seniors, nuns, and children to sing. Almost everyone who sees this film will be compelled to make some sounds.

Drummond was pop’s anti-establishment mastermind between 1988 and 1992. He produced subversive as well as ridiculous hits while being part of KLF, The Justified Ancients of Mumu, The Timelords, and Zodiac Mindwarp and published a book called “The Manual. How to Have a Number One the Easy Way.“ KLF won the Best British Band award at the 1992 Brit Awards and performed their hit “3 a.m. Eternal“ with the grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror which ended with Drummond shooting blanks at the audience. Drummond and his partner Jimmy Cauty also placed a dead sheep at the entrance of the after party with the message “I died for ewe – bon appetit.“ Drummond and Cauty decided to drop out of the music business right after and they there thorough: they deleted their back catalogue. Their old records and CDs can’t be bought and Cauty filmed himself as he burned the rest of KLF’s earnings which added up to one million pounds .

Today, Drummond is a very likable, relaxed man in his early 60s whose children still resent him a bit for the million pound incident.“The 17“ follows simple rules. Drummond records people who sing in specific scores or simple melodies. All the recordings are mixed at the end of the project, listened to once, and deleted. Drummond’s project is a criticism of the availability of music leading to the decrease of importance of individual songs . “The 17“ is also a collective delight: when Drummond goes to a factory and tries to convince the workers there to sing into the microphone during their break he comes across a mix of refusal and defensiveness at first. In the end of the scene, we see them all sing and several of their voices happily trail off as the camera pans out of the factory. Hu Ha! Bumm Bumm! Drummond claims that “The 17“ sound would be what music would sound like if all musical knowledge and memories would disappear. KLF’s concept wasn’t all that different, really. Drummond has proven how much fun this can be. One of the loveliest and most moving perfomances of “The 17“ was incidentally shot in Berlin.

The Manual: How to have a Number One the Easy Way: http://freshonthenet.co.uk/the-manual-by-the-klf/


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared
Deutschland/Schweiz/Großbritannien 2015, 83 min
Genre: Documentary, Music Films
Director: Stefan Schwietert
Author: Stefan Schwietert
DOP: Adrian Stähli
Montage: Frank Brummundt, Florian Miosge
Music: Jan Tilman Schade
Distributor: Real Fiction
Release: 22.10.2015




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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